Things I Love Thursday – Busy Weeks, Gelato

Do I like a busy week? Maybe. Maybe not. But I don’t have much choice in that this week. So what do I really love? Gelato Taking a break in the afternoon and going out for Gelato with a friend and her son. We’re lucky to have an incredibly tasty vegan-friendly gelato place in our neighbourhood (as an aside, I also love living so close to a pal.) called Boreal Gelato. Once upon a time in 2011 they opened, and I went in shortly after. They were in my area, looked kind of cool, and were on twitter. 2 years later they’re still throwing down excellent vegan gelato – BUT EVEN BETTER. Today we both had Chocolate and Salted Caramel. So. Delicious. If you find yourself in Toronto for any reason, these folks are worth visiting.

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Vegan MoFo – Wedding Cake

Update: click here to read about our wedding day, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the lovely. Oh Cake. Why has it taken me so long to talk about cake. One of the first decisions we made after getting engaged was who we wanted to make our cake. No, I’m not joking. Maybe this was premature, as new vegan bakeries have actually opened in the time it took us to get close to the wedding, but I still feel good about our decision to go with Sweets from the Earth. JC and I met up with Ilana Kadonoff, owner and chief baker extraordinaire at Sweets from the Earth  (SFTE) a few months after our engagement party, and it was a really positive meeting. She was so nice and helpful, and gave us ideas, and direction when we only had a slight picture in mind. We sampled a variety of Sweets from the Earth cake flavours in the form of tasty SFTE cupcakes  – including some flavours I hadn’t even considered and decided on the flavours that will eventually make up our wedding cake tiers next month. Do go for cake tastings. We were ready to go after one meeting, but you might want to sample some of the other vegan cake options available to you, especially if you live in Toronto. Other vegan and vegan-friendly options in Toronto off the top of my head are Bunner’s Bake Shop, Tori’s Bake Shop, Rashmi’s Bakery, and Vegan Danish Bakery (especially if you’re Danish…

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Soups I Love Thursday (Ten of Them) #VeganMoFo

I’ve spent the last few days wrapped up in a blanket, mostly wanting to eat cereal and soup. JC and I were both sick, and spent some time vegging out in front of the computer and playing World of Warcraft. I’m still feeling that weird sick disconnected feeling but it’s getting better. The sickness combined with a slight dip in the weather has got me thinking of autumn and soup. Soup and autumn. From simple broth based noodle soups, to heavier lentil, sorghum, rice soups, we’ve been souping it. After I posted one of my cereal based breakfast lunches on instagram, a friend sent over a  jar of homemade soup for my sick self to enjoy. Who says social media doesn’t work? (it wouldn’t be me by the way – I win with soup.) So what better than to talk about ten of my favourite vegan soups of all time on this wonderful day 18 of VeganMoFo? This isn’t a top ten list of course, because I can’t create a hierarchy of soup. I’m also including stews in this list. Let’s not argue. It’s better that way. Some of these I’ve made myself. Some of these I’ve eaten elsewhere. French Onion Soup Two Ways. Homemade, and at the Depanneur. This french onion soup from The Depanneur triggered my French Onion Soup obsession during last years’ VeganMoFo. And it continues to this day. I researched and read the history and the culture behind French Onion Soup, please imagine some kind of french…

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Dealing with Caterers – Vegan Weddings – Vegan MoFo 2013

Continuing in my Vegan Wedding theme for Vegan MoFo 2013 – here’s a bit about my experience with caterers, and a few tips. P.S. It’s also less than a month before JC and I get married. Eeeee. update: click here to read about our wedding day, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the lovely. Early in the wedding planning process I started to look at caterers and venues and options for the wedding. To be honest, it was one of the main criteria in the decision making process. You may notices that JC and I love food. Finding a really fantastic restaurant is more than just a night out, it’s a hobby, and we love to share with each other and others, so I’m sure it’s not surprising that it ranked highly. In Toronto some venues have in-house caterers that you’re obligated to use, others will let you use your own caterer with certain stipulations or additional fees, and with others you are completely on your own. Some include service, some don’t. It depends on your budget, and how much you want to spend and how many separate service providers you want to work with. I researched a few around the city and sent emails to a few places that seemed promising, nearly everyone got back to me with wedding package information, and claimed they knew how to cater a vegan wedding (though some glossed over that part), but more inquiries about options and menus usually showed they didn’t really…

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Millions of Peaches, Millions for Me, Millions of Peaches, I picked them for free.

This weekend started out in an awesome fashion. JC and I went with a crew of folks from the West End Food Coop, and drove to Two Century Farm, and picked beautiful peaches for use in the Community Supported Orchard (CSO) program (that I am part of). You can join in on the next season Community Supported Orchard Program for Fall 2013. I will admit to eating two or three peaches on site, and let me tell you… fresh juicy straight from the tree peaches is unreal. There is peach flavour… and then there is juicy peach from a tree flavour. You can get pretty close buying them from the farmers markets around the city, but nothing is like that freshly picked peach. There is also that nostalgic feeling that too me back to the family raspberry picking trips to Roy’s Raspberries a little outside of Edmonton. We’d go and pick for an hour or two and my mom and I would make raspberry jam (and more!). So it’s nice to know that we’ll be doing a very similar thing with these peaches, except it will be done with the WEFC family/community kitchen instead. We also took a small bag of peaches home with us, but as-of-yet, I haven’t decided what to do with them. Probably just eat delicious peaches in their mostly natural form. But one thing we will do… is grill them. Or possibly turn them into this Grilled Peach & Basil Tofu recipe from Laurie Sadowski (The…

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Things I Love Thursday – Home Sweet Home

In mid July, JC and I took possession on a new house, but with all the travelling we’ve been up to we haven’t really had the opportunity to live in it. In fact, as someone recently pointed out to me, since we’ve  “moved” I have spent more time away from this house than living in it. Time to change that! So, in addition to missing our sweet little kitties, I missed the house too. Even briefly, it already feels like home. With its nice red door and ivy covered brick exterior walls, for some reason it still surprises me that we live here and it is ours. Most of all, I’m just happy that everything just seemed to fall in to place when we found it. It’s one of those unlikely Toronto stories, which sellers are always afraid of. One single offer. And it was ours. Sure there are still bits and pieces we need to fix up, and I’m looking forward to digging up most of the yard and planting herbs and vegetables for our neighbourhood raccoons to enjoy (partially kidding – but I’m sure they’ll be wrecking stuff as soon as it’s there.) It still feels like we’re house sitting for someone else, but at the same time, I’ve realize what a comfort it is to be here. This is home, and I appreciate it. Even if we still don’t have internet. Or only intermittent hot water. But really… let’s not talk about that. We’ll have those in September.…

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Things I Love Thursday – On Friday – I’m on a Train.

I’m on a train to NYC (magic of internet!) Since returning home from Las Vegas, the last few days have been a frenzy of activity, where we got a few things taken care of for the new house, amongst other things. But most of that was really time spent waiting for installers (that didn’t show up), repair persons (that didn’t actually fix anything), delivery folks (that brought us a nice new bed frame!) and cat sitters (that were lovely). So, a little bit of good, a little bit of bad. Vegan MoFo What I’m really excited about is that VeganMoFo registration has opened up, and you might want to join up if you haven’t yet. I’ve had a lot of fun in past years, and I like how a lot of people have done themes for the month, and since I’m getting married in October, I’ve opted to do an entire month of wedding themed posts in addition to other stuff I feel like posting that month. Hopefully people can make use of some of our planning experience. The Big Apple Now were heading to NYC, and, other than just being happy to be heading down there for a little while, I’m also pretty thrilled that’ll I’ll get to check out the Vegan Shop Up while we’re in the area. (It’s happening tomorrow!) Vegan Shop Up Deets Saturday, August 10th, 12- 6pm Pine Box Rock Shop 12 Grattan St. Bushwich, Bk And it’s even free… until you want to eat…

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Maximum Tolerated Dose – I got my copy!

Last week I received my first real piece of mail at our new house (since receiving advertising for moving companies, security companies, and the like doesn’t count) was a padded envelope with a very special DVD in it. You could even say… it was a special edition DVD (because it was.) It seems hard to believe but the last time I saw this haunting, powerful film was in September. And it’s still stuck with me. Maximum Tolerated Dose is a film that explores the lives of humans and non-humans involved in animal testing. Be it the animals that are tested on, or the former animal experimenters grappling candidly with their past work in that industry. It’s artistic, haunting, and oddly beautiful while at the same time being completely heartbreaking. The Special Edition DVD comes with a 20-page booklet with an essay by Dr. Lauren Corman, professor of Sociology (Critical Animal Studies) at Brock University, and the “MTD User Guide,” a scene-by-scene guide giving extra context for the film. Special Edition DVDs contain: Maximum Tolerated Dose the film, uncut.  Subtitles in Spanish, Italian, Polish  Almost a full hour of Special Features: Full interview with Lynda Birke (40mins) & “Animals in Rocket Flight,” a film by the U.S. Army If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the trailer and see if it’s playing in your area. You can also read filmmaker & director Karol Orzechowski’s Q&A with Our Hen House for a bit more on the salient hows and whys of…

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Toronto Festival of Beer 2013 – What’s Vegan?

The Toronto Festival of Beer is coming up this weekend, and like last year, I’ve put together a list of vegan friendly options. I had a great time at the 2012 Toronto Festival of Beer, and enjoyed talking to all the different creators and beer enthusiasts. I like learning more about the science and the craft behind creating new and interesting flavours, and I think many of the people at these festivals get that. Nerding out over food & beverage science is one of the things I really enjoy. There will be over 60 brewers featuring more than 200 brands from all over the globe participating in this event. They will also be featuring a “World of Beer Pavilion” – featuring West Coast Brewers from BC, Washington, Oregon, and California.

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New to Me: Soul to Bowl Sauces – Creamy Vegan Alfredo and Made in Toronto

Update: Soul to Bowl Sauces is now Nona Vegan Foods. I have been house/cat sitting for a friend for the last couple of weeks, and during that time I’ve gotten to know Evergreen Natural Market (161 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto) really well. As it is, I go there fairly often, even though I don’t live in the area, but now that I’m right in the neighbourhood… well, I’ve probably gone everyday. Last week I saw something NEW and tasty looking. It also had that nice shiny V word on it and looked like something I might want to eat. Hello Soul to Bowl Sauces, and get in my belly. I hesitated for a second and thought to myself… do I really need such a sauce? I could probably make one at home right? Could I? Maybe (?). Did I want to? No. It has been available at the Wychwood’s Evergreen Natural Foods (513 St Clair Ave) for a month or so, but of course – I nearly never go up there. Currently, it’s only at these two Evergreen locations, but the creator is aiming to branch out soon to other businesses. Today I bought all of the remaining jars at the location on Roncesvalles – sorry (not-sorry). But I’m sure it’ll get restocked soon. (P.S. sources tell me It’s been restocked already) I’m happy I picked it up when I saw it, because it paired perfectly with the semi-fancy, but sort of lazy meal I wanted to make that night. Smoked marinated tempeh steaks,…

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